2002-06-08 / Community

Increase in Minimum Wage Approved

Increase in Minimum Wage Approved

Assembly approved the amended legislation that raised the state’s hourly minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.75 as of January 1, 2003, benefiting thousands of New Yorkers and their families.

"Our support for this measure reflects our long term commitment to advocating for fair wages for all workers," stated Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "Our willingness to be flexible about the specifics of the legislation is based on our determination to see an increase in the minimum wage implemented this year."

The amended legislation differs from the measure passed by the Assembly in April only in the index to which minimum wage increases after 2003 are tied, linking them to statewide average weekly wages rather than to the cost of living. All other provisions of the bill are unchanged. The legislation has a majority party sponsor in the Senate, and was recently approved by the Senate Labor Committee.

"The minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation, so in terms of buying power it is at its lowest level in many years," said Assembly Labor Committee Chair Catherine Nolan, the sponsor of the bill. "Now it is up to the Senate to act to improve the standard of living for the many households in our state whose breadwinners rely on minimum wage jobs."

"The New York State AFL-CIO applauds the leadership of Speaker Silver, the guidance of Assemblywoman Nolan, and the hard work of the members of the Assembly for voting to raise the minimum wage in New York State," stated Denis Hughes, president, New York State AFL-CIO, which represents 2.5 million union members throughout the state. "We thank the Assembly for recognizing the value and dignity of all working men and women."

"Year after year, the state Assembly has been a staunch supporter, defender and friend of working families," says Bob Master, co-chair of the Working Families Party, which has been a major backer of the legislation. "We intend to keep pushing until state Senate passes this legislation and the governor signs it, and our state’s lowest paid workers get the raise they deserve."

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